Advantages and disadvantages of Packet Switching type

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of Packet switching (PS) type. It mentions Packet switching advantages or benefits and Packet switching disadvantages or drawbacks. It provides links on difference between Packet switching and Circuit switching.

What is Packet Switching?

In packet switching network unlike CS network, it is not required to establish the connection initially. The connection/channel is available to use by many users, but when capacity or number of users increases then it will lead to congestion in the network. Packet switched networks are mainly used for data and voice applications requiring non-real time scenarios.

circuit switching vs packet switching fig2

In packet switching, station or IP device breaks long message into small size packets and inserts headers as per predefined formats of TCP/IP stack. These headers contain many useful informations including source address, destination address, length of packet, port number, protocol field, checksum etc. Packets are transmitted sequentially. Packets are assembled at the receiver with the help of sequence numbers. In packet switching, packets are handled in two ways viz. datagram and virtual circuit. In datagram type, each packet is treated independently. Packets can take up any route between source PC and destination PC. Packets may arrive out of order and may even not reach destination in some cases. In virtual circuit type, pre-planned route is established before the transmission of packets. The Call request and call accept messages are used as handshake mechanism. In this type, each packet contains VCI (virtual circuit identifier) instead of the destination IP address. In this type, routing decisions for each packet are not needed as it is made only once for all the packets using virtual circuit.
Refer circuit switching vs packet switching which mentions difference between circuit switching and packet switching types.

Benefits or advantages of Packet switching

Following are the benefits or advantages of Packet switching type:
➨As packets contain maximum length, they can be stored in the main memory itself and not disk. This reduces access delay. Moreover packet size is fixed and hence network will have improved delay characteristics as no long messages are available in the queue.
➨As switching devices do not require massive secondary storage, costs are minimized to great extent. Hence packet switching is very cost effective technique.
➨Packets are rerouted in case of any problems (e.g. busy links or disabled links). This ensures reliable communication.
➨It is more efficient for data transmission as it does not require path to be established between the sender and receiver and data are transmitted immediately.
➨Many users can share the same channel simultaneously. Hence packet switching makes use of available bandwidth efficiently.
➨With improved protocols, packet switching is widely used for video and voice calls using applications such as WhatsApp, Skype, Google Talk etc.
➨Due to competition among telecom carriers and availability of latest wireless standards such as LTE, LTE-Advanced packet switching is widely used by internet users.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Packet switching

Following are the disadvantages of Packet switching type:
➨Packet switching network can not be used in applications requiring very little delay and higher quality of service e.g. reliable voice calls.
➨Protocols used in the packet switching are complex and require high initial implementation costs.
➨If the network becomes overloaded, packets are delayed or discarded or dropped. This leads to retransmission of lost packets by the sender. This often leads to loss of critical information if errors are not recovered.
➨It is not secured if security protocols (e.g. IPsec) are not used during packet transmission.

Also refer advantages and disadvantages of circuit switching>> and message switching>> types.

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What is Difference between

circuit switching vs packet switching
packet switching vs message switching
circuit switched call vs packet switched call

Networking related Links

• Basics of OSI and TCP-IP Layers   • Circuit Switched Call vs Packet Switched Call   • LAN vs WAN vs MAN   • What is Hub   • What is Switch   • What is Bridge   • What is Router   • What is Gateway   • TCP-IP Packet format   • ARP Protocol format