(also switched fabric)
Switching fabric definition
A switching fabric is a network topology where the network nodes are connected to each other using one or more switches (usually crossbar switches). Switching fabric provides higher throughput than many Ethernet and broadcast networks because it spreads the network traffic across multiple physical links.
See also: data packet, packet switched network, Asynchronous Transfer Mode
Switching fabrics types
- Circuit switching: Circuit switching establishes a dedicated communication path between two devices for the duration of a session. During that time, the circuit is reserved for the devices even if there is no data being transmitted. Traditional telephone networks make use of circuit switching, establishing dedicated circuits for parties in a call.
- Packet switching: Packet switching breaks up data into small packets and sends them individually through the network. Each packet can take a different path through the network even if the end destination is the same. Packet switching allows multiple devices to share the same communication channels.
- Cell switching: Cell switching is similar to packet switching, but uses fixed-length cells instead of variable-length packets. Like in packet switching, each cell is routed independently through the network. Cell switching was commonly used in Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) networks, but has been largely replaced by packet switching in modern networks.