circuit switching

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Related to circuit switching: Message switching, packet switching

circuit switching

[′sər·kət ‚swich·iŋ]
The method of providing communication service through a switching facility, either from local users or from other switching facilities.
A method of transmitting messages through a communications network in which a path from the sender to the receiver of fixed bandwidth or speed is set up for the entire duration of a communication or call.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Circuit Switching


the aggregate of technical facilities of a general telegraph network to set up direct circuits. It provides a temporary direct circuit between two terminals, such as city communication offices or regional communication centers, through automatic switching centers. If any section of the circuit is occupied by another connection, the transmitting terminal receives a busy signal. If only a local channel of the receiving terminal is busy, the telegram is rerouted to an incoming line of the switching center, whereupon it is transmitted to the receiving terminal after the local channel becomes available.

Circuit switching uses a six-digit numbering method. The first three digits are the telegraph station number of the switching center, and the last three digits are the number of the receiving terminal.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

circuit switching

Communication via a single dedicated path between the sender and receiver. The telephone system is an example of a circuit switched network.

The term connection-oriented is used in packet-based networks in contrast to connectionless communication or packet switching.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (

circuit switching

A networking technology that provides a temporary, but dedicated, connection between two stations no matter how many switching devices the data are routed through. Circuit switching was originally developed for the analog-based telephone system in order to guarantee steady, consistent service for two people engaged in a phone conversation. Analog circuit switching (FDM) has given way to digital circuit switching (TDM), and the digital counterpart still maintains the connection until broken (one side hangs up). This means bandwidth is continuously reserved and "silence is transmitted" just the same as digital audio. See connection oriented. Contrast with packet switching and message switch.

Circuit Switched vs. Packet Switched
Circuit switching can be analog or digital, but it is giving way to the packet-based IP technology as a result of the Internet.
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.
References in periodicals archive ?
The circuit switching evolution focused on voice networks.
Softswitching is the most reputable attempt to date to bridge traditional circuit switching with emerging packet switching technologies.
DTM is the only protocol designed to be used in integrated services networks, combining the quality of circuit switching with the flexibility of packet switching.
Internet telephony deserves to be recognized as competing head to head with circuit switching on quality.
A few years ago, most of the solutions available to customers were oriented toward circuit switching. Now, audio, video and data conferencing standards have been ratified, and many mainstream equipment suppliers have introduced network and end-user products that make it easier for people to conduct meetings at a distance.
The star/star PBX, unlike the token-passing ring/star, is based on pure circuit switching. The circuit transmission data rate is typically 64 kb/s, and with parallel circuit switching of up to 32 circuits, a maximum data rate of 2.048 Mb/s can be provided.

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