Packet Switched Network

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What Does Packet Switched Network Mean?

A packet switched network (PSN) is a type of computer communications network that groups and sends data in the form of small packets. It enables the sending of data or network packets between a source and destination node over a network channel that is shared between multiple users and/or applications.

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A packet switched is also known as a connectionless network, as it does not create a permanent connection between a source and destination node.

Techopedia Explains Packet Switched Network

A packet switched network is one of the most commonly used computer networks. It is widely implemented on local networks and the Internet.

A PSN generally works on the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) protocol suite or the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) layer. For data to be transmitted over a network, it is first distributed into small packets, which depend on the data’s protocol and overall size. Each packet contains various details, such as a source IP address, destination IP address and unique data and packet identifiers.

The segregation of data into small packets enables efficient data transportation and better utilization of the network medium/channel. More than one user, application and/or node may take turns sending and receiving data without permanently retaining the underlying medium/channel, as in a circuit switched network.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.