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Chavez,Katherine Ross

Packet Switching on the Internet

            Packet switching on the Internet is the process by which data, stored in packets, are delivered through the network to a host with the help of routers. The data is first divided into packets and then gather together again once they all arrive to the destination. For example when you send an e-mail, that e-mail gets divided into small even packages, all containing an essential piece of the whole entire message. Then they are sent via the Internet, which is composed of an interconnected set of networks. The packages are guided to the e-mail recipient by routers. These routers determine which are the best paths to take and if a path fails they quickly find another. Packet switching happens every time we use the internet. We receive packets when we click on a link or receive messages and vice versa. 

Packet Switching Video

          The idea of packet switching was first conceived by Paul Baran in the early 1960s. This idea was supported by Donald Davies and Leonard Kleinrock a few years later which eventually led to its full development. It all started with the proposition of creating a reliable means of communication through new technology for the United States military. The revolutionary Internet began to take its form. 


            Packets on the Internet typically hold one kilobyte worth of data. So if one is sending a large e-mail with attachments, it’s going to be divided into a significant amount of packets. The first packet of every set contains essential information that the router will need for the whole delivery process like the source of the message, the destination’s address, and the amount of packets that will be on their way.

                              Packet Switching Technology
            The TCP/IP Internet protocols are the most common on packet switching technology and the Internet is the largest packet switched network. The TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and the IP (Internet Protocol) have rules when it comes to communicating through the network. One of the rules is that all of the packets must contain a piece of information from the message as well as the destination. Both protocols work together to make assure the delivery of the packets containing the information. The IP does the job of dividing information and distributes them in packets but does not guarantee the safe or reliable transportation of them. The TCP however, makes sure that there are no problems during the packets' journey and if for some unexpected reason one of them gets lost, the protocol requests retransmission of the lost packet or data.