Difference Between Circuit Switching and Packet Switching

When it comes to network communication, the setup of the physical layer there is a process known as switching.  Switching means when multiple communicating devices are connected. There are two types of switching possibly the first one is circuit switching and the other one is packet switching.

Circuit Switching vs Packet Switching

The main difference between circuit switching and packet switching is that how both handle the data and how both of these send data from one location to another. Circuit switching has only one single connection connecting the two devices. The data is in form of many smaller units and transferred as packets in Packet switching.

Circuit Switching vs Packet Switching

The method of switching utilized to provide a specialized communication line between the transmitter and the receiver is known as circuit switching. The physical link that is formed between the origin and the destination is established. An example of circuit switching is the analog telephone network. This sort of switching has a set bandwidth.

Packet switching is described as a connectionless system in which communications are separated and put together into packets. Every data is sent separately from the sending location to the final location. The final payload contains the actual data in the packets. At the final destination, all the packets should be arranged in proper order.

Comparison Table Between Circuit Switching and Packet Switching

Parameters of ComparisonCircuit SwitchingPacket Switching
Data transferPhases of data transfer:
i) Connection Establishment.
ii) Data Transfer.
iii) Connection Released.
The data is directly transferred from source to destination.
Data processingData is processed in the source system onlyData is processed at all the nodes including the source system.
ReliabilityIt is more reliable.It is less reliable.
WastageMore wastage of resourcesLess wastage of resources
Responsibility of transferThe Source system is the one that makes transmission happen.Intermediate routers also play a role in transmitting the data.

What is Circuit Switching?

Circuit switching divides network capacity (speed) into segments and maintains a constant bit delay across the connection. An ensuring data rate is provided by the exclusive path/circuit created between both the sender and recipient. Once the circuit is created, data can be sent without delay. An example of circuit switching is the telephone system network. TDM (Time Division Multiplexing) and Frequency Division Multiplexing are two ways for combining multiple signals into one carrier.

FDM divides a signal into several bands. When numerous data streams are merged for simultaneous transmission over a common communication media, Frequency Division Multiplexing, or FDM, is utilized. It’s a method of dividing a total bandwidth into a sequence of non-overlapping frequency sub-bands, each of which carries a separate signal. Multiple separate signals can be shared in the radio spectrum and through an optical fiber. Time Division Multiplexing divides a video signal into frames.

TDM is a technique for transmission and reception independent signals over a common signal route using synchronized switches at both ends of the power line. TDM is a lengthy communication link that can handle a lot of data traffic from the end-user. A digital circuit-switched is also known as time-division multiplexing (TDM). The main benefit of circuit-switched networks is that they establish a dedicated transmission path between the computers, resulting in an assured data rate. Because of the dedicated transmission line, there is no delay in data flow when switching in-circuit.

What is Packet Switching?

Sending information in the form of packets to a system is known as Packet Switching. The data is split down into little, changeable bits called packets to send the file quickly and effectively over the network and minimize transmission delay. All of these little components (packets) must be reconstructed at the destination, and they must all belong to the very same file. The payload & different control information make up a packet. There is no need to set up or reserve resources ahead of time.

When switching packets, data transmission employs the Store and Forward technique; when forwarding a packet, each hop first stores it before forwarding it. Because packets might be dropped at any hop for a variety of reasons, this strategy is quite useful. Between two sources and destinations, multiple paths can be taken. Each transmitted data has source and destination information, which it uses to move through the network individually.

To put it another way, packets from the same file may or may not follow the same path. If a path is congested, packets are allowed to choose among a variety of paths available over an existing network. Because the success was not so high for little messages in circuit-switched.

Main Differences Between Circuit Switching and Packet Switching

  1. There are different phases involved when data is transferred through a circuit switching. These phases are known as connection establishment, data transfer and in the last, connection released whereas in packet switching the data is transferred directly from the source system to the destination.
  2. Processing of data in circuit switching only happens at the source system whereas the data is processed at every node which is included while transferring the data from the source system to the destination system.
  3. In reliability, if compared the circuit switching is the more reliable as compared to packet switching.
  4. The circuit switching and packet switching can also be compared via checking the wastage of the resources. And the resources are wasted more while the transfer of data in circuit switching as compared to the data transfer in packet switching.
  5. When the data is transferred through a circuit switching only the source system is the one that makes the transition happen whereas in packet switching intermediate rooters also play a role while the transfer of data is happening from a source system to the destination system.


There is always a need for data to be transferred from one device to another. To fulfill this need, a network is set so that two devices can communicate with each other. The connection between multiple devices which can communicate with each other is known as switching.

There are their respective pros and cons which belong to the main types of switching i.e., circuit switching and packet switching. Packet switching is efficient reliable and costs a bit low in the network whereas circuit switching is time-efficient to the delivery of the data in the correct sequence. Packet switching does not transport data packets, but Circuit switching does so because all packets go along the same route.


  1. https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1975ntc…..2…42R/abstract
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/5938113?casa_token=wWP6nd0tuE4AAAAA:wUo216azjSNCfgfMOJGMCFTiBMmsCwWysZNmXxv0BCcGD0F6vJD9dTURTtliRxITZJOuk_6T

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