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  • Packet & Packet switching

    Packet

    A block of data that is transmitted over the network in a packet-switched system. The terms frame, packet and datagram are often used synonymously.

    A packet is the fundamental unit of information carriage in all modern computer networks that use packet switching.

    Connectionless packets: Datagrams

    Some systems that use packets (e.g. ATM) require a connection setup stage before any packets can be sent, which is why they introduce the term datagram.

    * A datagram is a self-contained packet, one which contains enough information in the header to allow the network to forward it to the destination independently of previous or future datagrams.
    * Thus, no setup is needed before a computer tries to send datagrams to a computer with which it has not previously communicated, unlike with virtual circuit protocols. Other packet switched networks, for instance the Internet Protocol, do not require prior setup, and therefore the two terms are used interchangeably.

    How packets work

    A packet consists of three elements: the first element is a header, which contains the information needed to get the packet from the source to the destination, and the second element is a data area, which contains the information of the user who caused the creation of the packet. The third element of packet is a trailer, which often contains techniques ensuring that errors do not occur during transmission.

    A good analogy is to consider a packet to be like a letter; the header is like the envelope, and the data area is whatever the person puts inside the envelope.

    The life of one connection will usually comprise a series of packets; in some network designs, they will not necessarily all be routed over the same path through the network.


    Packet switching


    A method of data transmission in which small blocks of data are transmitted rapidly over a channel dedicated to the connection only for the duration of the packet's transmission.

    A software-controlled means of directing digitally encoded information in a communication network from a source to a destination, in which information messages may be divided into smaller entities called packets. Switching and transmission are the two basic functions that effect communication on demand from one point to another in a communication network, an interconnection of nodes by transmission facilities. Each node functions as a switch in addition to having potentially other nodal functions such as storage or processing.

    Switched (or demand) communication can be classified under two main categories: circuit-switched communication and store-and-forward communication. Store-and-forward communication, in turn, has two principal categories: message-switched communication (message switching) and packet-switched communication (packet switching).

    In circuit switching, an end-to-end path of a fixed bandwidth (or speed) is set up for the entire duration of a communication or call. The bandwidth in circuit switching may remain unused if no information is being transmitted during a call. In store-and-forward switching, the message, either as a whole or in parts, transits through the nodes of the network one node at a time. The entire message, or a part of it, is stored at each node and then forwarded to the next.

    In message switching, the switched message retains its integrity as a whole message at each node during its passage through the network. For very long messages, this requires large buffers (or storage capacity) at each node. Also, the constraint of receiving the very last bit of the entire message before forwarding its first bit to the next node may result in unacceptable delays. Packet switching breaks a large message into fixed-size, small packets and then switches these packets through the network as if they were individual messages. This approach reduces the need for large nodal buffers and “pipelines” the resources of the network so that a number of nodes can be active at the same time in switching a long message, reducing significantly the transit delay. One important characteristic of packet switching is that network resources are consumed only when data are actually sent.

    All public packet networks require that terminals and computers connecting to the network use a standard access protocol. Interconnection of one public packet network to others is carried out by using another standardized protocol.

    Packet-switched networks using satellite or terrestrial radio as the transmission medium are known as packet satellite or packet radio networks, respectively. Such networks are especially suited for covering large areas for mobile stations, or for applications that benefit from the availability of information at several locations simultaneously.

    Asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) is a type of packet switching that uses short, fixed-size packets (called cells) to transfer information. The ATM cell is 53 bytes long, containing a 5-byte header for the address of the destination, followed by a fixed 48-byte information field. The rather short packet size of ATM, compared to conventional packet switching, represents a compromise between the needs of data communication and those of voice and video communication, where small delays and low jitter are critical for most applications.

    Data communication (or computer communication) has been the primary application for packet networks. Computer communication traffic characteristics are fundamentally different from those of voice traffic. Data traffic is usually bursty, lasting from several milliseconds to several minutes or hours. The holding time for data traffic is also widely different from one application to another. These characteristics of data communication make packet switching an ideal choice for most applications. The principal motivation for ATM is to devise a unified transport mechanism for voice, still image, video, and data communication.


    Regards,
    Sam
    Regards
    Sam
    Asst. System Admin
    VPS Support Team

  • #2
    Types of switching

    Hello

    Thanks for the content regarding switching.
    Bt could you please explain me the types of switching...Please reply..

    Thanks..

    Comment


    • #3
      Hello,

      Basically there are 2 types of packet switching, the virtual circuit approach & the datagram approach.


      Regards,
      Sam
      Regards
      Sam
      Asst. System Admin
      VPS Support Team

      Comment


      • #4
        Datagrams do not have sequential format, hence they have less information when compared to virtual circuits which keeps tracks of packet order.

        Comment

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