Skip to main content

circuit switching

circuit switching A method of communications that is used in telephone systems and requires a physical transmission path – a circuit – to exist between the two devices wishing to communicate. The end-to-end path must exist before data can be sent. The only delay to which the data is subject is the propagation delay along the transmission medium (6 microseconds per 100 km for copper telephone lines). Since the path is reserved during the entire connection, any unused bandwidth is wasted. Compare message switching, packet switching, virtual circuit.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"circuit switching." A Dictionary of Computing. . 23 Feb. 2019 <>.

"circuit switching." A Dictionary of Computing. . (February 23, 2019).

"circuit switching." A Dictionary of Computing. . Retrieved February 23, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.