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Switching in Computer Networks

In this tutorial, we will be covering Switching one of the most important concepts of Computer Networks.

As we know that a network is mainly a set of connecting devices. But when we have to connect multiple devices in a network then there is a problem in connectivity and that is how to connect them so that one-to-one communication becomes possible. The one solution is to make a point-to-point connection between each pair of the device or a point-to-point connection between the central device and every other device. But the practical implementation of this solution is not possible at the time of large networks.

The better solution to this problem is Switching. Let us now move on to the concept of switching and switched networks.

In computer networks, switching is one of the most important concepts.

The mechanism by which the exchange of information between different computer networks and network segments happens is commonly referred to as Switching.

Switched Networks

A switched network basically consists of a series of interlinked nodes. These interlinked nodes are known as switches.

  • Thus in a switched network, connectivity is usually provided by making the use of switches.

  • Switches are those devices that are capable of creating temporary connections between two or more devices that are linked to them.

  • In this network, some switches are connected to the end system(like computer systems or telephones) while other switches are used for routing.

  • The network device switch is mainly a layer-2 device of the OSI model.

  • Packet forwarding is done by the switch on the basis of the MAC address.

  • Thus the Switch mainly transfers the data only to the device that has been addressed (means having proper mac address). Because verification of destination address is done by the switch in order to route the packet appropriately.

Figure: Switched Network

In the above figure; A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H are end systems or we can say communicating devices. And there are 4 switches labeled as 1,2,3,4. Also, you can see that each switch is connected to multiple links.

The concept of switching is needed for the effective utilization of the bandwidth. Also whenever two or more devices communicate with each other then there are many chances for the occurrence of the collision of data packets in the network; switching is the best solution for this problem.

Methods of Switching

In order to decide the best route for data transmission, a switching technique is used. The switching techniques mainly connect the systems in such a way to make one-to-one communication easier.

Given below are three methods used for switching or we can say there are three switching techniques:

  • Circuit Switching

  • Packet Switching

  • Message Switching

On the basis of the above-given techniques, switched networks are broadly classified as follows:

We will cover the above-mentioned in our upcoming tutorials.

Advantages of Switched Networks

Given below are some benefits of switched networks:

  • As switches help in creating collision domain for each connection in the networks. Thus there are fewer chances of frame collision.

  • There is an increase in the performance of networks by using switches.

  • There is an increase in the available bandwidth on the network by using switches.

  • The workload on the individual PC gets reduced by using switches in the network.

  • There is a direct connection of the switch with the workstation.

Disadvantages of Switched Networks

There are some drawbacks of using switches :

  • As we are using switches in the switched network, so the network becomes expensive because switches are expensive.

  • It is difficult to trace the connectivity issues in the network through a switch.

  • There are chances for the occurrence of trouble in broadcast traffic.

  • In order to handle multicast packets, proper design and configuration are needed.