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What is Switching in Computer Networks and its Types

What is Switching in Computer Networks and its Types?

The world is becoming a digital world through technological advancements. Now, this has become a global village due to the Internet. There exists a massive network of computers all around the world. Different techniques are used to maintain these networks. It includes switching in a computer network along with its types. Read this till the end to know more astonishing aspects. 


What is a switch in networking?

This is a physical device that gathers packets from its physical ports and takes them to another device which is the packet’s destination. It’s implemented in a Local Area Network (LAN) for exchanging information among computers.

A switch works on the Data Link Layer that is used in the OSI model. Furthermore, they can perform efficient work on the Network layer of the OSI model. These are effective in filtering out packets destined for other switches on the same LAN. These use the Ethernet wire or cross wire for linking with computers.  


What is switching?

This is a technique in which it takes a packet from one network and delivers it to another network by choosing the best easy route. It is utilized to connect systems for developing end-to-end encrypted communication. 

Hence, switching is the best method to apply in a large network. This large network comprises multiple switches, nodes, and routers

When information is sent from a sender then it switches among various routes. As a result, that particular sent information is delivered to a receiver.  


Benefits of Switching:

  •  This lessens the traffic in a network that enhances the overall network performance. 
  • Because the switch in a network enhances the bandwidth of the network. 
  • The usage of a switch develops each collision domain for every connection. 
  • The information exchanged through this is always safe and secure. 


Types of Switching in Computer Networks:

There are three fundamental types of switching in a computer network. They all perform different functions in an effective manner. These are essential for developing and maintaining a big network. They all are described in the following section:


Circuit Switching

In this switching technique, a devoted path is established prior to transferring data between sender and receiver. This path exists and terminates after a connection is ended among them. 

This develops a pre-particular route for communication purposes. It provides end-to-end secure communication between sender and receiver. Circuit switching follows its three phases:

Develop a Circuit: First of all, a circuit is developed, which means a devoted path is created between the sender and receiver. This is done through diverse connected switches or nodes. 

Transmits data: Once the circuit gets developed then a safe connection is also developed between the sender and receiver. This provides protected communication among them. 

End the circuit: After completion of the transmission of data then the circuit is terminated at the end. It’s done from any side of communication whether from the sender or receiver. 

Examples of Circuit Switching:          

  • Analog Telephone Network
  • Public Switched Telephone Network 
  • Optical Mesh Network 


  • A pledge of efficient data transmission is provided by it. 
  • There is no delay time because the sender and receiver are end-to-end connected. Hence, it provides a fast data transmission service.  
  • A devoted consistent data transmission link is developed. That’s why it’s the right approach for long-term communication. 




  • Once a devoted link is developed then that specific link is reserved and can’t be utilized by other switches or nodes in a network. 
  • It holds the allocated resources for the whole time leaving other nodes waiting for those resources to get available. 
  • This needs more bandwidth along with plenty of time. 


Message Switching 

This is also known as a store and forward network because it stores a complete message block in each independent node. After that, it forwards the entire message to the next node (destination). 

It uses the intermediary device for communication purposes. First, a message block from a sender is sent to the intermediator. Then that intermediator forwards the message to the destined receiver.

Examples of message switching:

  • Emails
  • Telegrams
  • PC Documents 


  • The overall efficiency of the network along with bandwidth gets enhanced. 
  • In the nodes, the messages are stored for a temporary time period. 
  • An unlimited size of data is maintained by this message switching. 



  • The biggest drawback of this is the long delay because of the store and forward functionality. 
  • It’s not the best approach for sending voice or video messages. 
  • This is an expensive switching technique to implement in a network.
  • Message switching isn’t appropriate because it provides less security. 


Packet Switching

As its name suggests, it contains messages in the form of packets. These are smaller in size as compared to blocks. This sends these to the destination through the shortest possible path. 

That’s why it’s the most efficient for communication purposes. Every packet is labeled with a number from the sending side. At the end of the receiving side, the sequence of packets is reassembled according to labeled numbers.

For instance, if any packet is not in the sequenced line then a message will not be delivered to the receiver side. It will display a message of resend on the screen.   

Moreover, every packet contains information like a source address, a destination address, a sequence number, a middleman node address, and much more. 


  • This doesn’t need secondary storage for storing message packets. That’s why it saves cost as compared to other switching techniques. 
  • It is responsible for the rerouting of packets in case of busy nodes. 
  • Packet switching has vast bandwidth available for use by many users over the same communication link simultaneously.



  • Applications that have less delayed or premium quality services can’t use this switching technique. 
  • This demands a high cost for implementation in a network and its protocols are very complicated to understand. 
  • If errors occur while transferring the data then data is lost and this needs re-sending of lost message packets. 


 In a nutshell:

There are three types of switching techniques that are very important in a network. They are effective and efficient for implementation in a large network of computers. These are the best ways for communication purposes.

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