Cisco CCNA Certification Exam Training: What Is Packet Switching

Jean J. White

Cisco CCNA certification exam training means you’ve got to learn a lot of new terms, and some of them can be a little confusing at first. To pass this tough certification exam, one term you definitely need to understand is packet switching. The first question, of course, is “What is packet switching in the first place?” Let’s define this term in today’s Cisco CCNA exam prep tutorial.

Packets transmitted from “point A” to “point B” all have to arrive at the same destination, but with packet switching, they do not all have to take the same path to get there. If you and I are standing 10 feet apart and I want to throw a basketball to you, I’ve got a couple of options. I could bounce the ball off the floor to you, I could throw it straight at you, or I could throw it high into the air to you. Packet switching is really the same thing – packets will take different paths to get from source to destination, but the end result is that all the packets arrive at the destination. The packets are then reassembled to take the form of the original message.

Packet switching may sound a little odd, but it’s a very efficient way of transporting data. Frame Relay is a packet switching technology, as is X.25, and both of these protocols are highly efficient.

If we have packets that must arrive at the destination in the same order in which they left the source, packet switching isn’t a good choice. For this situation, we’ll need to use some form of circuit switching, and we’ll discuss that in tomorrow’s Cisco CCNA certification training article!

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