Updated April 15, 2023
Introduction to Packet Switching Advantages and Disadvantages
Packet switching advantages and disadvantages are defined as understanding the arguments that are in favor and also against the packet switching technology. Packet switching is a mode of transmission of messages in pieces by first breaking up the message into a number of parts and each of these parts are sent over independent routes to the destination and the routes chosen are the most optimum for each packet and then reassembling it back at the destination.
For example, if a 3GB file has to be sent to the target, it is broken down into pieces of the optimum size for transfer and then routed through different paths to the target. Each of the packets contains the essentials required for the transfer like origin and destination’s IP address, number of packets, sequence number plus some additional information that will enable the transfer.
Various Packet Switching Advantages and Disadvantages
In order to understand the advantages and disadvantages, it is imperative to understand the types of packet switching and the process of packet switching so that the advantages and disadvantages can be efficiently curated and used for determining the point of acceptance or rejection while choosing this methodology of the transferring data.
Firstly, let us see about the process of packet switching. The data to be transferred is broken down into different parts known as packets. Each of these packets comprises 2 elements known as header and payload. As the element name suggests header comprises the information that addresses the packet and is used for directing it to the destination by the intermediate routers.
This header contains information like the source address, a destination address, the number of packets that are sent from source to destination, and the sequence number of the part. Apart from the metadata information in the header, the payload is the actual data that is to be transferred to the destination. As soon as the packets are available with the nodes, it is transmitted over the most optimum path. Since this path is the most optimum in accordance to the architecture either connectionless or connection-oriented one, it is not necessary that the routing of transferring the data is through the same path. Also, when it reaches the destination, the parts might not reach in the same order as it was transmitted, and hence on the basis of the sequence the destination has to reorder and then retrieve the original message.
In the due course of message transfer there are 4 different types of delays that might happen, being important to know the potential place of advantages or disadvantages and they are:
- Delay in Transmission: Transmission delay is the time taken to send out all the packets from the sourcing end or conversely the time that it takes to absorb all the data at the receiving end. This mostly depends on the packet length and the bandwidth capacity of the network.
- Delay in Propagation: This is the time that the data takes in the path traversal or in other words the total time taken by the data to reach from source to destination is the propagation delay
- Delay in Queuing: Taking into consideration the nature of the network traffic, there is some time that is spent by the data before it is actually executed for transmission.
- Delay in Processing: As the name suggests this is the time that is taken to process the packet. Here time is consumed to look at the checking the bit errors, determine the links of output, and all other things that don’t fall under the purview of transmission, propagation, and queuing.
- As soon as the packets are available, they are transmitted and hence the delay in delivery of the packets is less.
- The size of data that the packet contains is the maximum length the main memory can handle and hence the access delay is reduced as the data is stored in the main memory and not in the disk.
- Cost-wise, there is no requirement of huge secondary storage and thus the costs are reduced to a great extent as the devices don’t need to actually store the data that is being forwarded.
- Another factor that contributes to a reduction in the delay is that the path needs to be established from the source to the destination and instant transmission of the data.
- In case of any problems in the path like busy links or failure in the links, the packets are rerouted automatically making sure of reliable communication.
- The same channel can be shared simultaneously among various users as the methodology takes care of the available bandwidth in an effective manner and with this, it ensures the optimum utilization of the bandwidth. Sharing of resources by various users is another reason why it is a cost-effective methodology.
- Even in cases of unavailability of a public network for transmission, packet switching can still be performed to send emails and texts.
Only praises are only possible in an idealistic world, and in reality, there tends to creep in some disadvantages even if how best the solution is.
- Under heavy load, there can be a delay expected due to longer queuing times.
- Although the storage cost is minimalistic, there is a huge one-time cost of the installation that one has to incur.
- There is a complex protocol of delivery and would need technical expertise to make it an effective transmission.
- In case the transmission is not properly handled, it might lead to delay in deliveries, the introduction of errors in the packet, or even loss of packets thus leading to loss of critical information.
- Having sharing resources might be havoc in disguise as it might lead to potential security threats.
We, with this article, got a glimpse of the process of packet switching and then further discussing on the advantages and the disadvantages to map it to correct junctures of the process so that one can make an informed decision on the basis of the discussed pros and cons in this article
This is a guide to Packet Switching Advantages and Disadvantages. Here we discuss the introduction and various advantages & disadvantages. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –