What is the difference between circuit-switched and packet-switched networks?

Find out the difference between circuit-switched and packet-switched networks in this Q&A, plus whether or not Ethernet MACs are needed to build up a LAN.

  1. What is the difference between packet-switched and circuit-switched networks?

   2.   Do we need Ethernet MAC if we're using an Ethernet switch to build up a LAN?

Packet switching and circuit switching are two networking methods for transferring data between two nodes or hosts. For a packet-switched network, data is transferred by dividing the data into individual packets and passing it through the circuits to the other host. In packet-switched networks, the route is not exclusively determined when the packets hit the wire. Using routing algorithms, each packet may actually take a different route through the network to arrive at the destination host. Unlike a circuit-switched network where a static route is setup and pre-established prior to initializing connections to the host.

Using an Ethernet switch to build up a LAN should inherently require an Ethernet MAC.


This was first published in January 2007

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