Circuit switching dominates the public switched telephone network or PSTN. Network resources set up calls over the most efficient route. That might mean a call from New York to San Francisco goes through switching centers in San Diego, Chicago, and Saint Louis. But no matter how convoluted the route, that path or circuit stays the same throughout the call. Got it? One call, one circuit. It's like having a dedicated railroad track with only one train, your call, permitted on the track at a time.
Packet switching dominates data networks like the internet. A data call or communication from San Francisco to New York is handled much differently than with circuit switching. With circuit, all packets go directly to the receiver in an orderly fashion, one after another on a single track. Like the train we mentioned before, hauling one boxcar after another. With packet switching routers determine a path for each packet or boxcar on the fly, dynamically, ordering them about to use any railroad track available to get to the destination. Other packets from other calls race upon these circuits as well, making the most use of each track or path, quite unlike the circuit switched calls that occupy a single path to the exclusion of all others.
A local area network (LAN) is a group of interconnected computers that share the same geographic location, such as an office. This is opposed to a wide area network (WAN), which connects computers over greater distances, and would be used to link branch offices.
Each computer connected to a LAN is able to access the other connected computers' hard drives, as if they were installed internally. Also, you can connect your LAN to a file server, which is specifically designed to house shared files and resources for all the networked computers to access.
A WAN is a data communications network that covers a relatively broad geographic area and often uses transmission facilities provided by common... [continues]
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