Updated: Aug 15, 2022
Computer networking is one of the greatest breakthroughs of our age. Well before the Internet took over our daily lives, engineers and scientists worked to connect computers to each other. The work they did established our current state of networking.
What is computer networking?
Computer networking refers to interconnected computing devices that can exchange data and share resources with each other. These networked devices use a system of rules, called communications protocols, to transmit information over physical or wireless technologies.
The nodes of a computer network can include personal computers, servers, networking hardware, or other specialised or general-purpose hosts.
Computer networks support many applications and services, such as access to the World Wide Web, digital video, digital audio, shared use of application and storage servers, printers, and fax machines, and use of email and instant messaging applications.
Circuit Switching and Packet Switching
Circuit switched networks have a dedicated connection between two end points in a network.
Telephone calls use circuit switching, where the system creates a connection between the caller and receiver that stays open for the duration of the call.
Circuit switching is most often used for voice and video calling systems.
Packet switched networks breaks messages into tiny pieces.
Often, when a user sends a file across a network, it gets transferred in smaller data packets, not in one piece.
For example, a 3MB file will be divided into packets, each with a packet header that includes the origin IP address, the destination IP address, the number of packets in the entire data file, and the sequence number.
Packet switching is used for the internet, LANs and WANs.
Circuit switching is different from packet switching because it creates a physical path between the destination and source. There is no physical path in packet switching, which instead sends packets over a variety of routes.
Pros and cons of packet switching :
In the old days, if you weren’t home to receive a call, the call didn’t happen. Today, if you don’t check your email, it just piles up. If you miss an episode of a TV show, it’s waiting for you to watch it later. While this has some advantages, it also has its drawbacks like multiple rerouting delays, the risk of multiple lost packets, and other issues.