10 Differences Between circuit switching and packet switching

Difference Between Circuit Switching and Packet Switching

What is Circuit Switching?

Circuit switching is a communication method where a dedicated communication path is established between two parties before they can communicate. This path remains open for the entire duration of their communication.

Examples of Circuit Switching

  • Traditional telephone networks
  • ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network)

Uses of Circuit Switching

Circuit switching is used in applications that require continuous and reliable transmission, such as voice calls, video conferencing, and real-time data transfer.

What is Packet Switching?

Packe switching is a communication method where data is divided into small packets and transmitted independently over a shared network. These packets can take different paths to reach the destination and are reassembled upon arrival.

Examples of Packet Switching

  • Internet Protocol (IP)
  • Ethernet

Uses of Packet Switching

Packet switching is used in applications that can tolerate some delay and loss, such as web browsing, email, file transfers, and remote access.

Differences Table

Difference Area Circuit Switching Packet Switching
Connection Setup A dedicated connection is established before communication. No dedicated connection setup is required.
Resource Usage Fixed resources are reserved for the duration of communication. Shared resources are used on-demand.
Efficiency Less efficient as resources are dedicated. More efficient as resources are shared.
Delay Lower delay as the connection is already established. Higher delay due to packet processing and routing.
Redundancy No redundancy as the dedicated path is used. Redundancy can be achieved by sending multiple packets.
Packet Order Packet order is preserved as they follow a predetermined path. Packet order may vary as they take multiple routes.
Error Handling Error handling is done at the source or destination. Error handling is done through acknowledgments and retransmissions.
Bandwidth Utilization Fixed bandwidth is reserved for the entire duration. Bandwidth is shared among multiple users.
Scalability Difficult to scale as dedicated resources need to be provisioned. Highly scalable as resources are shared and can be dynamically allocated.
Cost Costly due to dedicated resource allocation. Cost-effective as resources are shared.


In conclusion, circuit switching and packet switching are two different communication methods. Circuit switching establishes a dedicated path for communication, while packet switching sends data in small packets over a shared network. Circuit switching is suitable for applications requiring continuous and reliable transmission, while packet switching is used for applications that can tolerate some delay and loss.

People Also Ask

Q: What are the advantages of circuit switching?

A: Circuit switching provides reliable and continuous communication, ensures fixed bandwidth availability, and preserves packet order.

Q: What are the advantages of packet switching?

A: Packet switching offers efficient resource utilization, scalability, error handling through acknowledgments, and cost-effectiveness due to shared resources.

Q: Which is faster, circuit switching or packet switching?

A: Circuit switching generally has lower delay and faster connection setup, while packet switching can achieve higher throughput and flexibility.

Q: Is the internet based on circuit switching or packet switching?

A: The internet is based on packet switching, specifically the Internet Protocol (IP), which allows data to be sent in small packets over the network.

Q: Can circuit switching and packet switching be combined?

A: Yes, hybrid networks can combine both circuit switching and packet switching techniques to optimize communication for different types of traffic and applications.

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