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Packet-Switched Network

Definition of Packet-switched Network

A packet-switched network is a type of digital network in which data is broken down into smaller units called packets for efficient transmission. These packets are then routed individually through the network based on destination addresses, allowing for more flexible and dynamic communication compared to traditional circuit-switched networks.

Origin of Packet-switched Network

The concept of packet-switched networks traces back to the early days of computer networking research in the 1960s. One of the pioneering systems was the ARPANET, developed by the United States Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). ARPANET, which became operational in 1969, utilized packet-switching to facilitate communication between different computers.

Practical Application of Packet-switched Network

One practical application of packet-switched networks is the modern internet. The internet relies heavily on packet-switching to transmit data between devices across the globe. When you send an email, stream a video, or browse a website, your data is broken down into packets that travel through various routers and switches before reaching its destination. This dynamic routing ensures efficient data transmission even in the face of network congestion or failures.

Benefits of Packet-switched Network

Packet-switched networks offer several key advantages:

Efficiency: By breaking data into packets, packet-switched networks can make more efficient use of network resources. This allows for better utilization of available bandwidth and faster data transmission speeds.

Flexibility: Packet-switched networks are highly flexible and adaptable. They can handle a wide variety of data types and adapt to changing network conditions in real-time.

Reliability: Packet-switched networks are inherently robust. Since data is transmitted in small, independent packets, the failure of any single network component is less likely to disrupt overall communication.

Scalability: Packet-switched networks can easily scale to accommodate growing numbers of users and devices. This scalability is essential for supporting the ever-expanding demands of modern digital communication.


In circuit-switched networks, a dedicated communication path is established between sender and receiver for the duration of the communication, whereas in packet-switched networks, data is divided into packets that can take different routes to reach the destination.

While packet-switched networks strive to deliver packets efficiently, they cannot guarantee delivery due to factors such as network congestion or packet loss. However, protocols like TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) provide mechanisms for reliable packet delivery by implementing acknowledgments and retransmissions.

Routers are crucial components of packet-switched networks as they determine the best path for forwarding packets based on destination addresses. They analyze incoming packets and make routing decisions to ensure efficient data transmission throughout the network.


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