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Packet switching is defined as a digital networking method in which large messages are decomposed into relatively small chunks called packets (sometimes called blocks, segments, cells, or frames), which can then be transmitted through multiple communication channels and reassembled at the destination. It is the fundamental mode of information transportation in all modern computer networks. This entry examines the dynamics of packet switching, packet versus circuit switching, the history of packet switching, and connectionless versus connection-oriented packet switching.

Dynamics of Packet Switching

A typical packet contains 1,000 to 1,500 bytes. Each packet contains address information that identifies the sending computer and the intended recipient through its Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Packets consist of a header (about 96 bits long), which directs the packet to its destination; the ...

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