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Answered 2011-04-25 17:20:52

A Circuit-Switched network is connection oriented, vs a Packet-Switched network which is connectionless. In a C-S network, there must be a physical connection between the two hosts to communicate vs the P-S network which encodes the IP address at Layer3 of the OSI model (for TCP/IP) and the MAC address at Layer2 when the packet is encapsulated.

The physical devices (network interface card, router, switch, hub, etc.) use the MAC address to move the encapsulated packet from node to node until it finally reaches the node with the IP address that it was destined for or until the TTL (time to live) reaches zero in which case the packet is dropped.

An example of a connection oriented network might be a telephone system; you dial a number, the called number rings, if the phone is answered, the connection is set up and dialog takes place. Once the party(ies) hang up the connection is destroyed.

In a LAN, the computers are physically wired together (or can use wireless networking) but the computer can carry on multiple "conversations" at one time, streaming a video from one server while downloading a file from another server, etc. This is possible because the computer can and does interleave the packets over it's one and only LAN cable or wireless connection. This is in contrast to the telephone conversation in which the vast majority of the time there are only two parties on the line, the caller and called.

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