Packet Switching

Packet Switching

When data is transmitted across a network it is broken down into small blocks of data called packets. Along with the block of original data, each packet contains a header with some key information:

  • Sender – the IP address of the origin computer
  • Destination – the IP address of the final location
  • Packet Number – so the data can be reassembled.
  • Error Detection – to ensure the all the data arrives as it was sent.

Go to Teach-ICT for an excellent description of packet switching. Or click here for a demonstration of multi-path routing.

Advantages of Packet Switching

Efficient – the packets are always sent along the fastest route. The packets can take alternative routes if there is congestion on the network.

Reliable – the packets can take alternative routes if some parts of the network are down.

Secure – the packets can take different directions across a network and so even if data was intercepted at one point, it is unlikely that all the data would be accessed.

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