5 Important Points of Packet Switching in Computer Networks

Today we are going to know about Packet Switching in Computer Networks. In this earlier post, we know what circuit switching is and how it works. The concepts of both packet switching in computer networks and circuit switching in computer networks are completely different. The process of data transmission in these is different. So let us know what is packet-switching, the types of packet switching and advantages and disadvantages of packet switching in computer network.

Packet Switching in Computer Networks

Packet switching technology is such a switching technique in which data is divided into small parts. We call them packets. That’s why this switching technology is named Packet Switching. The main purpose of using this switching technology is that even when there is more traffic in the transmission medium, it makes the data packets reach the destination easily and efficiently.

In packet switching, each packet has a header. In which the source and destination address of that packet is stored. With this, the data packet can easily go from source to destination. Apart from this, each packet is given a unique number so that the packet can be easily identified at the time of receiving it.

Payload and other additional information are stored in its header. So that the packet reaches its destination correctly. Also, no paths need to be reserved or pre-setup for data transmission in these packet-switching networks.

As we know that the information of all data packets is stored in their headers. Packets belonging to the same file can take different paths to reach the destination. After reaching the destination, all those files are reassembled and made into the original packet. The task of reassembling this is done by the receiving node.

When the receiver correctly receives the data packet, then the receiver sends an acknowledgement to the sender. If the data packet is missing or corrupted, the receiver tells the sender to send the data again.

5 Important Points of Packet Switching Networks

Let us know some important points of packet switching in computer networks.

Datalink & Network layer

Packet switching actually works in the data link layer or in the network layer. This packet switching is used in two ways. One is datagram switching and the other is virtual circuit switching. Datagram switching works above the network layer and virtual circuit switching works above the data link layer.

Store & forward method

In this packet switching, routing tables are used because routers and switches are used. If a node sends data according to this switching technique, it first travels to the switch near the node. The switch stores that data or puts it in a buffer. By keeping the data in the buffer, it is useful in which path to send that data so that it can reach the destination quickly and safely.

But the circuit switching networks did not have the facility to store and forward the data. In this, the connection was established and the data flow was continuous.


The advantage of storing and forwarding data in packet switching networks is that the efficiency becomes high here. But in a circuit switching network, if a node needs to transmit data, then a dedicated path is created for it. That path is reserved for the same node until the connection is disconnected, whether data is being transmitted in it or not. Due to this, the efficiency becomes low.


In packet switching, validation is done by storing the data packets. After that, it is forwarded toward the destination. Due to this store and forward method, it takes some time. Due to this, the delay increases.


In Packet Switching Network, we use the pipeline concept to do it. Due to this, the efficiency of data transmission and the ability to send data is lost. If a node wants to send 4 packets to another node, then it will send all the packets one after the other. It does not mean that after one packet reaches the destination, another packet is sent.

For example: If a data packet is sent from node A to node B, then there are switches and routers in between. Through which the data is bypassed. First, a packet leaves node A and comes to the switch. After that, it goes from the switch to the router, and only then node A sends another packet. The pipeline is used for this transmission.

Types of Packet Switching

Packet switching can be used in two ways

  • Datagram switching
  • Virtual circuit switching

Datagram Switching

  • The most important thing about datagram switching is the connectionless transmission. Connectionless means that no resource has to be reserved for transmitting data here. If a node sends packets to another node, then no one in this network will reserve anything like buffer, CPU, or bandwidth. Everything will be done on OnDemand.
  • There is no reservation in datagram switching. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph.
  • In this switching data packets go to the destination independently from different paths. Due to this reason, all these data packets do not reach the receiving node in a sequenced manner. That’s why it’s called out of order.
  • In this, every packet travels to the destination independently, so it is necessary to use a header in all the packets. Hence there is high overhead in this switching. The more headers used, the more the overhead will increase.
  • There is a chance of packet loss in this switching.
  • Datagram switching has more efficiency. Its cost is less than virtual circuit switching.
  • The most important point is, this switching is used for the internet.

Virtual circuit switching

  • Virtual circuit switching is called connection-oriented. This is because in whichever path the data packet goes, it reserves all the resources of that path. Such as buffer, memory, CPU, etc.
  • The reservation technique is used in this switching.
  • In this, the data packets go through the same path to the destination. Hence, this data is received by the receiver in a sequenced manner. Therefore, it is called in-order transmission.
  • Virtual circuit switching has less overhead. This is because the first packet has a global header and the rest have a local header.
  • Due to the packet traveling in a sequence manner, the chances of packet loss in this switching are less.
  • Virtual circuit switching is less efficiency and its more expensive than datagram switching.
  • Mostly it is used in ATMs.

Advantages and disadvantages of Packet Switching

Below are some advantages and disadvantages of packet switching.


  • The efficiency of packet switching networks is more than circuit switching networks.
  • In this switching technique, the same path can be used by multiple users simultaneously.
  • In packet-switching networks, a problem in one path does not stop the entire transmission. Rather, the router and switch connected to it reach the destination by transmitting the data packet in another path.
  • Many applications use this switching technique Like WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram, etc.
  • In this, if a packet is missed through data packet transmission, then it detects that missing packet very quickly.


  • Due to the use of the store and forward technology in packet switching, there is a delay in transmission.
  • This technology is complex with second switching and its implementation is also expensive.

Also Read


Packet switching is a switching technique that we use to run the Internet. Most of the applications that run on the Internet today use this switching technology. Circuit switching cannot be used in computer networks but packet switching can be used in computer networks.

I hope you all have understood the importance of packet switching in computer Networks, its types and advantages and disadvantages of packet switching. If you have any kind of doubt about this topic, then you can ask us without worry. We will do our best to clear your doubts.

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