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Fast packet switching is one method for message transmission on networks. It is a specific kind of packet switching that relies on a new, modern concept for data transmission, in contrast to traditional methods like circuit switching.
In circuit switching systems, administrators established a particular open circuit or line for a data set and simply allowed for a linear data transmission process. In new packet switching technologies, data is sent as a series of packets that must reach the recipient in sequence, or be reordered for sequential delivery.
As a particular type of packet switching method, fast packet switching bypasses some error-checking protocols, and sends individual packets with less comprehensive oversight. Some experts point out that the concept of fast packet switching assumes a certain responsibility on the receiving end to make sure that data delivery is consistent and error-free. Others note that the entire reason that fast packet switching is possible is because of extremely low error rates in some kinds of data transmission setups. Types of fast packet switching methods include asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), that typically uses physical media for transmission, and frame relay, which uses a variable-size frame unit for data packets.
Another way to characterize fast packet switching is that these systems work differently with the open systems interconnection (OSI) model, removing some of the error-checking responsibility from the network layer.