Regardless of whether you’re a technology freak or not, having a clear understanding of how your network works allows you to be prepared for any connectivity or troubleshooting network issues. The more you learn about your network, the more likely you are to respond to any performance problems. The first thing to know is that communication networks usually have different routes that send data from source to destination.
Generally, witching refers to the type of pathway that data goes through, whereas data communication refers to the switching of data between connected devices. That said, the two main methods of network connections are packet switching and circuit switching.
These two models are different in many ways and they both have advantages and disadvantages that must be discussed. In this article, we will dive through the main benefits and see how they differ from each other.
What is Circuit Switching?
In circuit switching, the communication network creates a route between the sender and the receiver so they can start a conversation. However, the circuit doesn’t get established until the connection is active. This type of method was initially designed for voice communication, so it’s often seen in telephone systems that require physical routes to send the message through the channel.
Additionally, circuit switching isn’t suitable for data transmission because the data is sent and received in nodes, which would lead to a waste of bandwidth. However, the channel remains reserved until the connection between the users becomes active.
What is Packet Switching?
According to Techopedia, packet switching is a ‘’digital network transmission process in which data is broken into suitably-sized pieces for fast transfer via different network devices.’’ That said, packet switching doesn’t need a physical connection unlike circuit switching.
Essentially, this network breaks down data into smaller bits to send them off to more efficient pathways. For maximum efficiency, every data packet goes a different route, so once all the packets reach the proper destination, they’re reassembled into the original message.
The principle of packet switching is the transparent exchange of data between the sender and receiver. The packets are individually routed to avoid delay and still reach the correct destination address.
Advantages of Circuit Switching
Although circuit switching has been around for many years, even way before packet switching, the main advantages remain. The main benefits of circuit switching include the following:
The first and most essential benefit of circuit switching is that there’s almost no waiting time, meaning the transfer happens immediately. There’s no need to wait during voice switches because the network is used for real-time voice services and the data always reaches its destination.
Circuit switching provides a fixed bandwidth allocation regardless of whether the devices are transmitting. Additionally, the phone calls can be done with a more dedicated channel, steady bandwidth, and consistent data rate.
Another great advantage of circuit switching is the reliable connection that’s established between the sender and the receiver. The availability of resources and data rate allows the users to have long calls without any disruption or delay, so the order of data is maintained.
Realistic Voice Communication
Thanks to the high sampling rates that are used during the transmission process, circuit switching provides real-time voice communication in which the speakers are easily identified before and during the call. As a result, this ensures that each data packet is delivered in order so the content of the call can be understood by both parties.
Advantages of Packet Switching
Apart from being an efficient and innovative network method, packet switching also has other benefits, some of which include:
One of the biggest advantages of investing in a packet-switching network is its cost-effectiveness because it doesn’t need a dedicated channel for data or voice traffic. At the same time, resources are shared among different users, which means you don’t have to pay to have one specific channel for voice transmission.
Speaking of efficiency, packet switching’s resources are allocated only during the transmission of data. Packets can find their data routes without the help of a dedicated channel, making it an ideal option for data transmission. Also, packet switching is capable of handling significant amounts of traffic on the network but it doesn’t take up a large amount of space.
Eliminate Packet Loss
With a packet-switching network, the packets reach their destination. As a result, this makes packet switching a more reliable method because it decreases packet loss and allows for the resending of packets.
When it comes to flexibility, the packet-switching network stays winning. This method is highly flexible, which means it can handle a different range of traffic types, such as voice, data, video, or protocols like UDP or TCP/IP. Different communication ways allow packet switching to become a flexible alternative.
Disadvantages of Circuit Switching
Limited Use of Network
Perhaps the biggest downside of circuit switching is that it’s only ideal for voice communications but not suitable for data transmission. Consequently, this method isn’t reliable if you want to use your resources more efficiently.
The bandwidth and channels used in the circuit switching connection remain unavailable until the call is broken, so you can’t use them for any other purposes such as connection. Also, if there are many users at once, it’s more likely to drop or not establish calls.
Compared to other methods of connection, circuit switching is more expensive, which means the call rates are also higher. Because it needs dedicated resources like bandwidth and hardware, circuit switching becomes costly to dedicate a channel peruse.
Disadvantages of Packet Switching
Packet switching’s main disadvantage is the reaction time which may cause delays while transmitting data. Additionally, applications that are in constant use require instant communication, meaning they can’t afford delays.
Besides transmission delays, packet switching networks can also lead to packet loss and decreased network. When multiple packets are sent out at once, the network can become congested, so the packets are dropped in transit. Further, this results in a lack of security protocols that happen during data transmission.
Quality of Service
Due to the delay and packet loss issues, packet switching networks lack in delivering quality of service for different types of traffic.