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How does message switching fit in this comparison table here?

Are these 4 switching work at different layers in the OSI model?

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    – Ron Maupin
    Oct 20, 2015 at 1:20
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    Aug 6, 2017 at 23:32

1 Answer 1


A message could be circuit switched or packet switched. You would probably classify message switching as an application layer construct.

Packet switching can break a large message into smaller packets to be sent, but a message may be small enough to fit into a single packet, too.

A circuit could carry a message over a circuit switched network.

It's kind of like comparing peer-to-peer routing with IP routing. They are not equivalent since one is application layer routing, and the other is layer-3 routing on which the application layer routing may happen.

  • Packet switching can break a large message into smaller packets to be sent, but a message may be small enough to fit into a single packet, too. When you say it, what layer is responsable for that? IP Fragmentation?
    – TMoraes
    Oct 19, 2015 at 2:59
  • @ThMoraes, it depends. An application may be designed to do this, or it may rely on the transport layer (e.g. TCP) to handle it. IP fragmentation is a little different since it addresses the problem of packets already in-flight, but I was referring to chopping a message to fit into packets before encapsulating in packets.
    – Ron Maupin
    Oct 19, 2015 at 4:49
  • would be segments, right? IP Fragmentation is used when there is difference between MTU and the Packet size..
    – TMoraes
    Oct 19, 2015 at 13:50
  • 1
    IP fragmentation happens when a sent packet encounters a smaller MTU along the path to the destination. The router connecting the two segments with different MTU sizes will fragment the packet to fit the next hop with the smaller MTU. On the other hand, TCP will take what an application sends it, and it will cut it up into pieces (segments) to fit into IP packets. TCP establishes a connection with the other end, and it is possible that TCP using Path MTU Discovery, can create segments small enough that IP doesn't need to fragment along the path.
    – Ron Maupin
    Oct 19, 2015 at 15:07
  • 1
    Not everything supports that. PMTUD was an add-on for IPv4, but it is necessary for IPv6 which doesn't allow routers to fragment packets along the path.
    – Ron Maupin
    Oct 19, 2015 at 16:19

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