Switching Techniques

Think how things would be if you could only use your telephone to talk to just one other person! You would not be very productive. So there are requirements for switching systems to route your calls around the world. There are a number of ways to perform switching:
   

Circuit Switching Packet Switching Message Switching Cell Switching

Circuit Switching
This method involves the physical interconnection of two devices. A good example of circuit switching involves the Public phone network. A data example would be the classic A/B switch!

Packet Switching
Packet Switching techniques switch packets of data between destinations. Traditionally, this applied to X.25 techniques, but this also applies to TCP/IP and IPX/SPX routers also. Proprietary Frame Relay switches can switch voice signals.

Message Switching
Message Switching techniques were originally used in data communications. An example would be early "store and forward" paper tape relay systems. E-Mail delivery is another example of message switching. In voice systems, you can find Voice Mail delivery systems on the Internet. The classic "forward voice mail" capability in some voice mail systems is another example.

Cell Switching
Cell Switching is similar to packet switching, except that the switching does not necessarily occur on packet boundaries. This is ideal for an integrated environment and is found within Cellbased networks, such as ATM. Cell-switching can handle both digital voice and data signals.

you need to realize that the network in place between two communicating persons is a complex field of devices and machines. switches and other kinds of devices that take the data transmitted during the communication from one end to the other. regional. Consider a person in Mauritius having a phone conversation with another person on the other side of the globe. Digital voice signals can share the same wire with many other phone calls. That's why you needed operators' assistance in making calls. Packet Switching The old telephone system (PSTN) uses circuit switching to transmit voice data whereas VoIP uses packet-switching to do so. The PSTN relies on circuit switching. the phone call is routed through numerous switches operating on a local. To understand switching. Beginning in the 1960s. The advent of fiber-optic cables now allows thousand of calls to share the same line. Long-distance calls were comparatively expensive. To connect one phone to another. especially if the network is the Internet. But fiber-optic and other high- . national or international level. There are a large number of routers. Every phone call needed its own dedicated copper wire connecting the two phones. The Public Switched Telephone Network © ANOEK DE GROOT/AFP/Getty Images Tourists often rely on pay phones to make calls when traveling. and calling codes allow those calls to be made. voice calls began to be digitized and manual switching was replaced by automated electronic switching [source: WirelessCenter]. In the early days. The difference in the way these two types of switching work is the thing that made VoIP so different and successful. say in the US. The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). also known as Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS).Circuit Switching vs. is the wired phone system over which landline telephone calls are made. The connection established between the two phones is called a circuit. because you were renting the use of a very long piece of copper wire every time you made a call. phone calls traveled as analog signals across copper wire. The operators sat at a switchboard. literally connecting one piece of copper wire to another so that the call could travel across town or across the country.

but the United States shares that country code with Canada and several smaller island nations like Jamaica. The phone number itself is a coded map for routing the call. the country code for the United States is 1. Here's a full list of exit and country codes. Routing calls requires multiple switching offices.maybe a neighbor around the corner -. which is tied to your specific address and phone lines. which represents the smallest amount of circuits that can be bundled on the same switch. although there are a few exceptions like Cuba (119) and Nigeria (009). The important property of this switching technique is to setup an end-to-end path (connection) between computer before any data can be sent. for example. we have 10-digit phone numbers. Country codes are one. which helps route the call to the right regional switching station. These are : circuit switching. The last four digits of the phone number represent the subscriber number. your country's exit code (or international access code) and the corresponding country code of the place you're calling.bandwidth cables haven't changed the basic nature of circuit switching. each employee or department might have its own extension. • • • The first three digits are the area code or national destination code (NDC). Within a company or larger organization. when a computer places a telephone call. Circuit Switching In this technique. The next three digits are the exchange. It then looks for a free link to another switching office and then sends the data to this office. when you make a call to another user in your same exchange -. . This process is continued until the data are delivered to the destination computers. Message Switching In this technique. you have to dial two separate numbers. In the United States. Puerto Rico and Guam. first the complete physical connection between two computers is established and then data are transmitted from the source computer to the destination computer. To make an international call requires further instructions. which still requires a connection -. The country code for Mexico is 52 and Saudi Arabia is 966. Owing to its working principle. it is also known as store and forward. For example. 2009 | Tutorials Different types of switching techniques are employed to provide communication between two computers. Almost all exit codes are either 00 or 011.to three-digit prefixes that are assigned to specific countries or groups of countries. Network Switching Techniques January 20th. the source computer sends data or the message to the switching office first. the switching equipment within the telephone system seeks out a physical copper path all the way from sender telephone to the receiver’s telephone. That is. To signal such a switch. Extensions from the main phone number are routed through something called a private branch exchange (PBX) that operates on the premises. message switching and packet switching. In other words.the call doesn't have to be routed onto another switch.or circuit -to remain open for the length of the phone call. which stores the data in its buffer. The call needs to be routed through your long-distance phone carrier to another country's long-distance phone carrier.

This improves the performance as the access time (time taken to access a data packet) is reduced. a caller must first establish a connection to a callee before any communication is possible.1: Circuit switching.That is. Another point of its difference from message switching is that data packets are stored on the disk in message switching whereas in packet switching. Circuit switching is the transmission technology that has been used since the first communication networks in the nineteenth century. Generally. packet switching places a tight upper limit on block size. resources are allocated between the caller and the callee. During the connection establishment. thus. The two different bitstreams flow on two separate circuits. Circuit switching Figure 1. forward later. In circuit switching. in contrast. resources are frequency intervals in a . Packet Switching With message switching. datagram packet switching and virtual circuit packet switching. one jump at a time. the throughput (measure of performance) of the network is improved. store first (in switching office). Switching technology In the next three subsections. there is no limit on block size. A fixed size of packet which can be transmitted across the network is specified. all the packets of fixed size are stored in main memory. we present the three switching techniques used in networks: circuit switching.

the set of switches and links on the path between the sender and the receiver is determined and messages are exchanged on all the links between the two end hosts of the communication in order to make the resource allocation and build the routing tables. This is a major issue since frequencies (in FDM) or time slots (in TDM) are available in finite quantity on each link. Therefore. In a communication network. and to actually send data from the input link to the output link.Frequency Division Multiplexing (FDM) scheme or more recently time slots in a Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) scheme. circuit-switched or not. nodes need to lookup in a forwarding table to determine on which link to send incoming data. traffic engineering methods can vary from offline capacity planning algorithms to automatic. routing must be performed for each communication. In circuit switching. A second characteristic of circuit switching is the time cost involved when establishing a connection. In circuit switching. If no circuit can be established between a sender and a receiver because of a lack of resources. Resources remain allocated even if no data is flowing on a circuit. Building the forwarding tables is called routing.1. circuits can be established according to traffic engineering algorithms. forwarding tables are hardwired or implemented using fast hardware. hereby wasting link capacity when a circuit does not carry as much traffic as the allocation permits. and establishing a circuit consumes one of these frequencies or slots on each link of the circuit. resources remain allocated during the full length of a communication. circuit switching is well suited for long-lasting connections where the initial circuit establishment time cost is balanced by the low forwarding time cost. In circuit switching. As a result. The path taken by data between its source and destination is determined by the circuit on which it is flowing. The set of resources allocated for a connection is called a circuit.e. as depicted in Figure 1. and does not change during the lifetime of the connection. after a circuit is established and until the circuit is terminated and the allocated resources are freed. Performing a lookup in a forwarding table and sending the data on an incoming link is called forwarding. Traffic engineering (TE) consists in optimizing resource utilization in a network by choosing appropriate paths followed by flows of data. A path is a sequence of links located between nodes called switches. preventing further connections from being established. establishing circuits for communications that carry less traffic than allocation permits can lead to resource exhaustion and network saturation. dynamic changes. The circuit is terminated when the connection is closed. to avoid congestion on links on a network while other links are under-utilized. To achieve such goals. . the connection is blocked.. Using local identifiers instead of global identifiers for circuits also enables networks to handle a larger number of circuits. A main goal of traffic engineering is to balance the load in the network. at circuit establishment time. The circuit identifier (a range of frequencies in FDM or a time slot position in a TDM frame) is changed by each switch at forwarding time so that switches do not need to have a complete knowledge of all circuits established in the network but rather only local knowledge of available identifiers at a link. Since circuit switching allocates a fixed path for each flow. i. making data forwarding at each switch almost instantaneous. according to static or dynamic constraints [39]. During circuit establishment.

A backup circuit can be established at the same time or after the primary circuit used for a communication is set up. Special mechanisms that handle such topological changes have been be devised. and traffic can be rerouted from the failed circuit to the backup circuit if a link of the primary circuit fails.On the other hand. we give an overview of datagram packet switching. on a link failure. Circuit switching networks are intrinsically sensitive to link failures and rerouting must be performed by additional traffic engineering mechanisms. called routing table. called routers. have to make a lookup in the forwarding table. Here. for each incoming packet. Different from circuit switching. all circuits on a failed link are cut and communication is interrupted. Datagram packet switching Conceived in the 1960's. Traffic engineering can alleviate the consequences of a link failure by pre-planning failure recovery.2: Datagram Packet Switching. Packet switching introduces the idea of cutting data on a flow into packets which are transmitted over a network without any resource being allocated. For instance. The switches. datagram packet switching does not require to establish circuits prior to transmission of data and terminate circuits after the transmission of data. packet switching is a more recent technology than circuit switching which addresses a disadvantage of circuit switching: the need to allocate resources for a circuit. then no packet is transmitted over the network and no resources are wasted. circuit switching networks are not reactive when a network topology change occurs. Packet switching is the generic name for a set of two different techniques: datagram packet switching and virtual circuit packet switching. thus incurring link capacity wastes when no data flows on a circuit. Figure 1. A routing table . Packets from a given flow are independent and a router can forward two packets from the same flow on two different links. If no data is available at the sender at some point during a communication.

All packets from the same flow use the same virtual circuit. then these packets will take different paths and can even arrive out of order. packets use two different paths to go from User 1 to User 5.contains a mapping between the possible final destinations of packets and the outgoing link on their path to the destination. If the routing algorithm decides to change the routing tables of the network between the instants two packets are sent. each packet must carry the address of the destination host and use the destination address to make a forwarding decision. on a network topology change such as a link failure. In datagram packet switching networks. which heavily rely on controlling the route of traffic. Since each packet is processed individually by a router. Virtual circuit packet switching Figure 1. all packets sent by a host to another host are not guaranteed to use the same physical links. no additional traffic engineering algorithm is required to reroute traffic. and the full forwarding process relatively slow compared to circuit switching. Therefore.3: Virtual circuit packet switching.2 for instance. As opposed to circuit switching. Consequently. Virtual circuit packet switching (VC-switching) is a packet switching technique which merges datagram packet switching and circuit switching to extract both of their advantages. Routing tables can be very large because they are indexed by possible destinations. In Figure 1. Second. traffic engineering techniques. routers do not need to modify the destination addresses of packets when forwarding packets. VCswitching is a variation of datagram packet switching where packets flow on so-called logical . making lookups and routing decisions computationally expensive. independently of the flow to which a packet belongs. the routing protocol will automatically recompute routing tables so as to take the new topology into account and avoid the failed link. Since routers make routing decisions locally for each packet. are more difficult to implement with datagram packet switching than with circuit switching.

which is responsible for routing packets from one host to another. Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM [6]) and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS [50]). The Internet. This sequence is set up at connection establishment time and identifiers are reclaimed during the circuit termination. Channels that are available for new calls to be set up are said to be idle. The bit delay is constant during a connection. Other advantages of VC-switching include the traffic engineering capability of circuit switching. in the sense that the connection is established before any packets are transferred. as opposed to packet switching.circuits for which no physical resources like frequencies or time slots are allocated (see Figure 1. in VC-switching all virtual circuits that pass through a failed link are interrupted. as if the nodes were physically connected with an electrical circuit. where packet queues may cause varying packet transfer delay. Circuit switching In telecommunications. . Even if no actual communication is taking place in a dedicated circuit that channel remains unavailable to other users. is entirely built around the Internet Protocol (IP). we now discuss how ATM and MPLS interact with IP. a main issue of VC-Switched networks is the behavior on a topology change. Each packet carries a circuit identifier which is local to a link and updated by each switch on the path of the packet from its source to its destination. and that packets are delivered in order. Because of the central role of IP in the Internet. Virtual circuit switching is a packet switching technology that may emulate circuit switching.25 [70]. A virtual circuit is defined by the sequence of the mappings between a link taken by packets and the circuit identifier packets carry on this link. In practice. major implementations of VC-switching are X. Each circuit cannot be used by other callers until the circuit is released and a new connection is set up.3). today's most used computer network. As opposed to Datagram Packet Switched networks which automatically recompute routing tables on a topology change like a link failure. In VC-switching. We have seen the trade-off between connection establishment and forwarding time costs that exists in circuit switching and datagram packet switching. and the resources usage efficiency of datagram packet switching. rerouting in VCswitching relies on traffic engineering techniques. routing is performed at circuit establishment time to keep packet forwarding fast. Nevertheless. a circuit switching network is one that establishes a circuit (or channel) between nodes and terminals before the users may communicate. Hence.

particularly with the overwhelming proliferation of internet-related technology. [edit] Compared to datagram packet switching Since the first days of the telegraph it has been possible to multiplex multiple connections over the same physical conductor. . The disadvantage of inflexibility tends to reserve it for specialized applications. Its advantage is that it provides for non-stop transfer without requiring packets and without most of the overhead traffic usually needed. the end result was a physical electrical connection between the two subscribers' telephones for the duration of the call. or it was idle between calls. The concept of a dedicated path persisting between two communicating parties or nodes can be extended to signal content other than voice. whether on the same exchange or via an interexchange link and another operator. but nonetheless each channel on the multiplexed link was either dedicated to one call at a time. Early telephone exchanges are a suitable example of circuit switching. even if the subscribers were in fact not talking and the line was silent. In any case.There is a common misunderstanding that circuit switching is used only for connecting voice circuits (analog or digital). The subscriber would ask the operator to connect to another subscriber. The copper wire used for the connection could not be used to carry other calls at the same time. The method of establishing the connection and monitoring its progress and termination through the network may also utilize a separate control channel as in the case of links between telephone exchanges which use CCS7 packet-switched signalling protocol to communicate the call setup and control information and use TDM to transport the actual circuit data. making maximal and optimal use of available bandwidth for that communication. ISDN is one such service that uses a separate signalling channel while Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) does not. Contents [hide] • • • • • 1 The call 2 Compared to datagram packet switching 3 Examples of circuit switched networks 4 See also 5 External links [edit] The call For call setup and control (and other administrative purposes). it is possible to use a separate dedicated signalling channel from the end node to the network.

virtual circuits. [edit] Examples of circuit switched networks • • • • • Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) ISDN B-channel Circuit Switched Data (CSD) and High-Speed Circuit-Switched Data (HSCSD) service in cellular systems such as GSM Datakit X. a route is reserved from source to destination. Circuit switching can be relatively inefficient because capacity is wasted on connections which are set up but are not in continuous use (however momentarily). based on the packet number. Circuit switching contrasts with packet switching which splits traffic data (for instance. and virtual circuit switching. Chapters in Part III. On the other hand. At the destination. The entire message is sent in order so that it does not have to be reassembled at the destination. "WAN Protocols. the connection is immediately available and capacity is guaranteed until the call is disconnected. that are routed over a shared network. Topics summarized here include point-to-point links. dialup services.With circuit switching. packet switching. the original message is reassembled in the correct order. called packets. circuit switching.21 (Used in the German DATEX-L and Scandinavian DATEX circuit switched data network) Introduction to WAN Technologies This chapter introduces the various protocols and technologies used in wide-area network (WAN) environments. digital representation of sound. What Is a WAN? . precluding the need for a dedicated path to help the packet find its way to its destination. Each packet is labeled with its destination and the number of the packet." address specific technologies in more detail. or computer data) into chunks. Datagram packet switching networks do not require a circuit to be established and allow many pairs of nodes to communicate almost simultaneously over the same channel. and WAN devices. Packet switching is the process of segmenting a message/data to be transmitted into several smaller packets. Each is dispatched and many may go via different routes.

and the network layer. such as telephone companies. Point-to-point links are generally more expensive than shared services such as Frame Relay. WAN technologies generally function at the lower three layers of the OSI reference model: the physical layer. Figure 3-2 A Typical Point-to-Point Link Operates Through a WAN to a Remote Network Circuit Switching . These circuits are generally priced based on bandwidth required and distance between the two connected points. pre-established WAN communications path from the customer premises through a carrier network.A WAN is a data communications network that covers a relatively broad geographic area and that often uses transmission facilities provided by common carriers. Point-to-point lines are usually leased from a carrier and thus are often called leased lines. the carrier allocates pairs of wire and facility hardware to your line only. Figure 3-1 WAN Technologies Operate at the Lowest Levels of the OSI Model Point-to-Point Links A point-to-point link provides a single. to a remote network. For a point-to-point line. such as a telephone company. Figure 3-2 illustrates a typical point-to-point link through a WAN. Figure 3-1 illustrates the relationship between the common WAN technologies and the OSI model. the data link layer.

Figure 3-4 shows an example packet-switched circuit. Figure 3-3 A Circuit-Switched WAN Undergoes a Process Similar to That Used for a Telephone Call Packet Switching Packet switching is a WAN technology in which users share common carrier resources.Switched circuits allow data connections that can be initiated when needed and terminated when communication is complete. This works much like a normal telephone line works for voice communication. In a packet switching setup. Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) is a good example of circuit switching. When the data transmission is complete. The virtual connections between customer sites are often referred to as a virtual circuit. The carrier can then create virtual circuits between customers' sites by which packets of data are delivered from one to the other through the network. the device actually places a call to the telephone number of the remote ISDN circuit. the switched circuit is initiated with the circuit number of the remote network. Figure 3-4 Packet Switching Transfers Packets Across a Carrier Network .25. When the two networks are connected and authenticated. In the case of ISDN circuits. The section of the carrier's network that is shared is often referred to as a cloud. Some examples of packet-switching networks include Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM). the cost to the customer is generally much better than with point-to-point lines. and X. When a router has data for a remote site. Figure 3-3 illustrates an example of this type of circuit. the call can be terminated. and many customers share the carrier's network. networks have connections into the carrier's network. they can transfer data. Frame Relay. Switched Multimegabit Data Services (SMDS). Because this allows the carrier to make more efficient use of its infrastructure.

WAN Devices . PVCs are used in situations in which data transfer between devices is constant. and circuit termination. traffic passes over the line. WAN Dialup Services Dialup services offer cost-effective methods for connectivity across WANs. PVC is a permanently established virtual circuit that consists of one mode: data transfer. the dial backup line is initiated. DDR is a technique whereby a router can dynamically initiate a call on a switched circuit when it needs to send data. the dial backup connection is terminated. The establishment phase involves creating the virtual circuit between the source and destination devices. but they increase costs due to constant virtual circuit availability. Dial backup is another way of configuring DDR. SVCs are used in situations in which data transmission between devices is sporadic. Data transfer involves transmitting data between the devices over the virtual circuit. The router is configured so that when a failure is detected on the primary circuit. the switched circuit is used to provide backup service for another type of circuit. data transfer. However. Two popular dialup implementations are dial-on-demand routing (DDR) and dial backup. the router is configured to initiate the call when certain criteria are met. SVCs are virtual circuits that are dynamically established on demand and terminated when transmission is complete. largely because SVCs increase bandwidth used due to the circuit establishment and termination phases. PVCs are generally configured by the service provider when an order is placed for service. When the connection is made. Two types of virtual circuits exist: switched virtual circuits (SVCs) and permanent virtual circuits (PVCs). and the circuit termination phase involves tearing down the virtual circuit between the source and destination devices. Communication over an SVC consists of three phases: circuit establishment. such as point-to-point or packet switching. When this occurs. In a DDR setup. PVCs decrease the bandwidth use associated with the establishment and termination of virtual circuits.WAN Virtual Circuits A virtual circuit is a logical circuit created within a shared network between two network devices. The dial backup line then supports the WAN connection until the primary circuit is restored. but they decrease the cost associated with constant virtual circuit availability. in dial backup. such as a particular type of network traffic needing to be transmitted. The router configuration specifies an idle timer that tells the router to drop the connection when the circuit has remained idle for a certain period.

Figure 3-6 illustrates an access server concentrating dial-out connections into a WAN. and multiplexers. WAN Switch A WAN switch is a multiport internetworking device used in carrier networks. WAN switches. these analog signals are returned to their digital form.WANs use numerous types of devices that are specific to WAN environments. Other devices found in WAN environments that are used in WAN implementations include routers. . modems. and SMDS. These devices typically switch such traffic as Frame Relay. Figure 3-7 illustrates a simple modem-to-modem connection through a WAN. Figure 3-5 illustrates two routers at remote ends of a WAN that are connected by WAN switches.25. At the destination. X. Figure 3-6 An Access Server Concentrates Dial-Out Connections into a WAN Modem A modem is a device that interprets digital and analog signals. access servers. enabling data to be transmitted over voice-grade telephone lines. and operate at the data link layer of the OSI reference model. digital signals are converted to a form suitable for transmission over analog communication facilities. At the source. ATM switches. CSU/DSUs. Figure 3-5 Two Routers at Remote Ends of a WAN Can Be Connected by WAN Switches Access Server An access server acts as a concentration point for dial-in and dial-out connections. and ISDN terminal adapters are discussed in the following sections.

Figure 3-9 The Terminal Adapter Connects the ISDN Terminal Adapter to Other Interfaces . such as EIA/TIA-232 on a router.Figure 3-7 A Modem Connection Through a WAN Handles Analog and Digital Signals CSU/DSU A channel service unit/digital service unit (CSU/DSU) is a digital-interface device used to connect a router to a digital circuit like a T1. although it is called a terminal adapter because it does not actually convert analog to digital signals. A terminal adapter is essentially an ISDN modem. Figure 3-8 illustrates the placement of the CSU/DSU in a WAN implementation. The CSU/DSU also provides signal timing for communication between these devices. Figure 3-8 The CSU/DSU Stands Between the Switch and the Terminal ISDN Terminal Adapter An ISDN terminal adapter is a device used to connect ISDN Basic Rate Interface (BRI) connections to other interfaces. Figure 3-9 illustrates the placement of the terminal adapter in an ISDN environment.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful