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Cut-through switching

Cut-through switching

(also cut-through forwarding)

Cut-through switching definition

Cut-through switching is a network switching technique used in Ethernet networks. It forwards data frames as soon as they are received and the destination address is specified. Cut-through switching allows the data to move quickly through a network switch, unlike traditional store-and-forward switching, which loads and verifies the entire frame before forwarding.

See also: virtual switch, digital switch

How cut-through switching works

A network switch that uses cut-through switching reads just enough of the message to figure out where it should go and starts sending it right away. If you used traditional switching, it would wait to read and understand the entire message before passing it along.

This immediate reaction and action means there’s less latency. As soon as the switch knows where to send the data, it begins sending it to the right place, even before the entire message arrives. These characteristics make cut-through switching perfect for video calls or online gaming because it reduces the time it takes for data to get where it needs to go.

However, there’s a trade-off. While it’s fast, cut-through switching doesn’t check the whole message for errors right away. It might send a bit of data even if there’s a mistake in it because error checking happens later in the process.

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