An Introduction to Circuit Switching and Packet Switching

When establishing a large network channel over an area for data transmission, you need proper network techniques to design the network hardware. To solve this problem, you must use switching techniques. In this tutorial on ‘Circuit Switching and Packet Switching’, you will understand the two different types of switching models and see the differences between both techniques.

PGP in Cyber Security With Modules From MIT SCC

Your Cyber Security Career Success Starts Here!View Course
PGP  in Cyber Security With Modules From MIT SCC

What Is Network Switching?

In a network channel, numerous network nodes are connected over a large area for data exchange; this exchange of information is possible only because of the application of switching techniques.


The switching techniques determine the best and the shortest route for the data packets to reach the destination node after passing through network devices in the channel.

Next, in the tutorial on ‘Circuit Switching abd Packet Switching’, you will look into circuit switching and packet switching.

Circuit Switching

Circuit switching is designed based on the pre-establishment of a path for the data packet before the data exchange takes place in the network.


This switching technique is the simplest form of network switching; only when the path is established data transmission is initiated from the sender to the receiver end, as shown in the above model.

Packet Switching

In packet switching, the data or the message is divided into smaller packets. Each packet is fed with proper network information for smooth transmission in the network channel.


This technique provides the data packets with a unique number for identification at the receiver end. Then following the number issued, the packets are reassembled at the receiver node according to the number assigned at the sender node, as shown in the above example.

FREE Course: Introduction to Cyber Security

Learn and master the basics of cybersecurityStart Learning
FREE Course: Introduction to Cyber Security

Circuit Switching vs. Packet Switching

Store and Transmission

Circuit Switching

Packet Switching

No service related to data storage in case of network traffic is applied. 

In packet switching, storing data in case of data traffic is done at each node, and then forwarded to the next node.

Path Establishment

Circuit Switching

Packet Switching

It establishes a dedicated path between the nodes before data transmission takes place. 

No pre-destined path is established for data transfer.

Route Followed

Circuit Switching

Packet Switching

The route followed by the data is fixed with no flexibility.

Each data packet follows its own path in the network with the flexibility of changing the path mid-route.

Cybersecurity Bootcamp

Certificate and Masterclasses From UCI DCEExplore Now
Cybersecurity Bootcamp

Bandwidth Availability

Circuit Switching

Packet Switching

For Circuit switching, bandwidth is fixed because of the involvement of a pre-destined route.

Bandwidth allocation is dynamic because no pre-destined path is established before data exchange.


Circuit Switching

Packet Switching

It is highly reliable because of the one-way transmission nature of data transmission.

Low reliability because of the virtual router availability and open type network.

Installation Cost

Circuit Switching

Packet Switching

The initial cost of setup is low.

High Installation cost due to a large number of network devices required.


Circuit Switching

Packet Switching

Simple protocols are applied for data delivery.

Complex data protocols are required because of the complex nature of the switching model.

Free Course: Ethical Hacking for Beginners

Learn the Fundamentals of Ethical HackingEnroll Now
Free Course: Ethical Hacking for Beginners

Path Nature

Circuit Switching

Packet Switching

The physical path is required for data exchange, e.g., Telephone cables.

No physical path is needed, the use of a virtual route is applied for data transmission.

Types of Switching

Circuit Switching

Packet Switching

Two types of circuit switching:

  • Time Division Switching
  • Space Division Switching

Two types of packet switching:

  • Datagram Circuit Approach
  • Virtual Circuit Approach


Circuit Switching

Packet Switching

It is mostly used for analog data exchange, such as telephone networks.

It is used for data exchange over the internet, with binary format data transmission.

Looking forward to a career in Cyber Security? Then check out the Certified Ethical Hacking Course and get skilled. Enroll now!


In this tutorial on ‘Circuit Switching and Packet Switching’, you looked at the way to network switching while also looking into the type and difference between circuit and packet switching by using various points as a reference.

If you want to learn more about the implementation model of the network switching types used for the establishment of the shortest path for data exchange, you can refer to Simplilearn’s Cyber Security Expert course. By the end of this professional course, you will be more efficient in designing the best possible route for the data transfer.

Do you have any questions related to this tutorial on ‘Circuit Switching and Packet Switching’? If yes, feel free to mention them in the comment section at the bottom of this page. Our team will help you solve your queries ASAP.

About the Author

Anmol KapoorAnmol Kapoor

Anmol is a Research Analyst who aims to become a Data Scientist one day. He enjoys Data Management systems and analysis. You will find him reading a book when he is not working.

View More
  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
  • *According to Simplilearn survey conducted and subject to terms & conditions with Ernst & Young LLP (EY) as Process Advisors