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What are Switched Communication Networks ?

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Switched communications network

A switched communications network transfers data from source to destination through a series of network nodes. Switching can be done in one of two ways. In a circuit-switched network, a dedicated physical path is established through the network and is held for as long as communication is necessary. An example of this type of network is the traditional (analog) telephone system. A packet-switched network, on the other hand, routes digital data in small pieces called packets, each of which proceeds independently through the network. In a process called store-and-forward, each packet is temporarily stored at each intermediate node, then forwarded when the next link becomes available. In a connection-oriented transmission scheme, each packet takes the same route through the network, and thus all packets usually arrive at the destination in the order in which they were sent. Conversely, each packet may take a different path through the network in a connectionless or datagram scheme. Since datagrams may not arrive at the destination in the order in which they were sent, they are numbered so that they can be properly reassembled. The latter is the method that is used for transmitting data through the Internet.

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