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packet switching
Last modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2002 

Refers to protocols in which messages are divided into packets before they are sent. Each packet is then transmitted individually and can even follow different routes to its destination. Once all the packets forming a message arrive at the destination, they are recompiled into the original message.

Most modern Wide Area Network (WAN) protocols, including TCP/IP, X.25, and Frame Relay, are based on packet-switching technologies. In contrast, normal telephone service is based on a circuit-switching technology, in which a dedicated line is allocated for transmission between two parties. Circuit-switching is ideal when data must be transmitted quickly and must arrive in the same order in which it's sent. This is the case with most real-time data, such as live audio and video. Packet switching is more efficient and robust for data that can withstand some delays in transmission, such as e-mail messages and Web pages.

A new technology, ATM, attempts to combine the best of both worlds -- the guaranteed delivery of circuit-switched networks and the robustness and efficiency of packet-switching networks.

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For pages about packet switching . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

Frame Relay overview
Provides a good overview of Frame Relay.

Packet switching and X.25 network information
From Patton Electronics, this page offers a brief introduction to packet switching and its use in X.25 networks.

X.25 packet switching
Provides a good overview of X.25 packet switching.

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BellSouth: IP Telephony - Integrated Solutions allows convergence of voice and data onto one seamless connection and regulates bandwidth to match specific network needs.

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Voicetel: VOIP Phones - Offers new and refurbished telephone equipment, telephone systems, and voicemail systems from Avaya, Nortel, Lucent, Toshiba, Panasonic and more.

Nortel Networks: Voice Over IP - IP telephony converges voice and data into a single network. Learn about the technology, options, and planning guides, and get a free quote. 

Protus IP Solutions: IP Virtual Fax - Offers web-based IP fax services that allows users to send and receive faxes from email and the Web.

related categories


related terms




cell relay

choke packet

circuit switching




Frame Relay






wide-area network


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