If we are sending packets to a router, are we only allowed to have 1 packet on the "link" at a time? So if I have 2 packets, do I have to wait for the first packet to reach the router before I can start transmitting the second packet onto link? This would mean that the transmission delay is lower than the propagation delay then if I am correct?

1 Answer 1


Packets are serialized and sent one bit at a time, and the bits from each packet cannot be mixed because the receiving end has no way to sort out which bits received belong to which packet, so one packet at a time is sent on a link.

  • Ahh, I see! This makes a lot of sense, I am still new to networking and I was under the assumption that the receiving end had a way to identify the bits for each packet. Thank you!
    – Belphegor
    Feb 9, 2016 at 19:21
  • A single bit can only represent 0 or 1, so there is no identifying information in the bit. Once enough bits have been received for the packet header, the receiver can see how many bits are in the packet and assign the rest of the packet's bits to the packet as it deserializes the bits.
    – Ron Maupin
    Feb 9, 2016 at 19:25

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